‘The most important thing to unpack is what would draw people into this ever-deepening path? What could be both the motivation and the destination?
It seems to me that for people to develop any of the qualities that were important for nurturing people’s inner life – their sense of commitment beyond instant gratification, the long-term investment that it takes to dismantle such daunting and interrelated structures of oppression – we had to use a new approach.
We keep trying to approach things from the vehicle of “other”, as in what people should do for “the other” and what we end up doing is othering. But when the shit hits the fan, we run the other way and create more distance. The question is: how do we allow people to be deeply in touch with themselves, and allow them to become deeply in touch with others?
They have to cultivate their capacity for presence. Presence is Grand Central Station and the place people arrive from wherever they’ve originally come from – fear, anger, disappointment, anxiety. Through the practice of being present to their situations, to the suffering that they felt as a result, not to mention the power of being seen as others are present with them, they can then travel on to compassion, to courage, to caring, to love.
We don’t have to fix people at all, We have to trust the evolutionary draw that is. What pulls you forward is presence. Presence is what motivates people and what you get out of it. As you choose to be more present, you are more present. What does presence allow? It allows us to see ourselves and others. By choosing presence we learn to let go of our own discomfort, and experiencing ourselves in a trusting way allows us to trust others more. As a result, we are drawn deeper.’ – Rev angel Kyodo williams
This passage encapsulates much more beautifully and articulately what has drawn me into becoming a zen teacher since I first took on teaching roles. Meeting people, meeting myself, allowing each of us to meet each other, is the most transformative practice I know.